Losing a tooth can be fairly traumatic, whether it’s related to an accident or injury, it’s the result of poor oral hygiene and tooth decay, or you’re dealing with a hereditary or medical condition, for example. Regardless of the reason for tooth loss, it can affect the physical function of your mouth and erode your confidence.
This is where dental implants enter the picture. There are several treatment options to consider following tooth loss, but for many reasons, dental implants are the most desirable. They may not be right for everyone, but if you’re a good candidate for dental implants, here are a few reasons why you should give them some serious thought.
1. They look like natural teeth
This is one of the reasons people often prefer dental implants. You might think that a bridge or dentures look enough like natural teeth that it won’t matter, but both of these options have visible hardware attached.
Dentists take pains to hide the portions of bridgework or dentures that you don’t want others to see, but with a dental implant, the anchor, often a titanium post, is implanted in the jaw, so that it is permanently and completely camouflaged by the crown attached to it. This means you can smile and laugh with confidence, knowing that you’ll never have to worry about a slip or a flash of hardware that lets others know you have a false tooth.
2. You can eat and drink like normal
In addition to looking fantastic, dental implants provide the greatest function of any treatment option. Implants are stable and secure. Because the titanium post actually bonds to your jaw bone, you won’t have to worry about slippage or other issues when you bite down.
This isn’t to say you want to tempt fate by chewing ice or hard candy, for example. The crown atop your implant could still become damaged, just like your natural teeth. However, you should have no trouble eating and drinking as you did before you lost your tooth.
3. They’re easy to clean
Part of maintaining good oral function is practicing proper oral hygiene. This is where dental implants really shine, so to speak. In order to clean dentures, you have to remove them. If you have a bridge, you may have to carefully clean around the hardware that attaches to adjacent teeth. This can require special equipment and techniques.
You will not have this problem with a dental implant. It is made to fit seamlessly with your natural smile, which means it seats in your gum line and fits perfectly between adjacent teeth. This allows you to brush, floss, and rinse normally. The only caveat is that you’ll likely be advised to avoid abrasive toothpaste that could damage the protective coating on the crown, and you should consult with your dentist before using whitening products (which will bleach natural teeth, but not implants).
4. They’re durable and long-lasting
There is no guarantee on dental work, and aftercare plays a role in how long any permanent dental work will last. That said, dental implants could last a lifetime with proper care. Practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly for inspection, cleaning, and any needed adjustments ensure the greatest longevity.
5. They prevent further damage
If you lose a tooth and fail to replace it, several undesirable outcomes could occur. First and foremost, a missing tooth could mess up your bite and cause problems when chewing food. The exposed surfaces of surrounding teeth could become more susceptible to decay due to added contact with food and beverages and potential difficulties of cleaning the area. Depending on the location of the gap, you may also become self-conscious about smiling.
Over time, the jaw bone that once supported your tooth could start to deteriorate, leaving a sunken space. In addition, the teeth on either side of the gap might start to lean into the empty space, causing more of your teeth to become misaligned. This could further affect your ability to eat and your confidence when smiling. It could even lead cause you to develop speech issues.
Dental implants address all of these potential problems, ensuring that you’re able to eat, drink, brush, floss, smile, and laugh with confidence. In short, dental implants are the next best thing to keeping your natural teeth.